Graduate Admissions


The Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences is committed to academic excellence. Only outstanding candidates are considered for entry into the graduate program. Applicants should have an academic background equivalent to that of a McGill graduate in the Honours or Major program in geology, geophysics, chemistry, or physics, and a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 out of 4.0. The admissions committee may modify the requirements in keeping with the field of graduate study proposed. In some cases a qualifying year may be required. Please see the comprehensive list of entrance requirements provided by the Admissions Office. 

Because the Department offers only research-based graduate degrees, students will not be accepted without having a formal commitment from a faculty member stating his or her intention to supervise and fund the research work. Students are strongly encouraged to read the faculty research interests and directly contact any individuals working in their interest area prior to applying for admission into the graduate program.

Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to take a TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) unless they have obtained a degree at a Canadian university (English or French) or at a foreign university whose language of instruction is English. Please see English Language Proficiency for more information.

The Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences does not require a GRE as part of the graduate application.

Important Dates

The application deadline for the Fall semester (beginning in September) is January 15. The deadline for the Winter semester (beginning in January) is August 1. These deadlines are the same for both Canadian and international applicants. Make sure that your application is submitted (not just saved) before the deadline. It is advisable that your supporting documents be uploaded by the deadline in order to complete your application; please inform us of any delays in the submission of your supporting documents or test results.

Before applying to the Department, make sure that you meet all of the admission requirements. This will save you time, aggravation, and possibly some money! Please be aware that the application fee is non-refundable.

Application Process

Read these instructions carefully. Failure to follow the proper procedure may delay your application.

  1. McGill's application system is entirely online and requires that you create an account. Start with the stepwise instructions provided at How To Apply. From the application deadline to how to upload required supporting documents, all the information provided is relevant and useful. It is worth your time to check out all of the links!
  2. Complete the online application, the required method of application at McGill. A credit card is required in order to pay the non-refundable application fee. If for some reason you are unable to access or complete the online application, please grad.eps [at] (contact us) at the EPS department office for help. Applications completed online are automatically forwarded to the Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences.

Transcripts and letters of recommendation

You must upload unofficial copies of transcripts to your online application. In the case of transcripts that are in a language other than English or French, you must also upload an English or French translation provided by the institution issuing the transcript or by a certified translator as well. If the transcript does not indicate that a degree has been conferred, a copy of the degree certificate (diploma) will also have to be uploaded. For more detailed instructions, please read the information found here: Submitting your documents.

Two reference letters are required. You must identify two instructors who are familiar with your work and are willing (and able--please consider their availability during field seasons!) to write the letters of recommendation. You must provide a valid institutional e-mail address for each referee (if your referee does not have one, please inform us of the reason). McGill will email the referees to request letters of recommendation on your behalf. The referees are responsible for uploading their own letters directly to the system.

You must also include your curriculum vitae and a personal statement. 

Application Review & Decision

The application is reviewed by the Graduate Admissions Committee in the Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences. The quality of each candidate is assessed and the student is either rejected or recommended for acceptance to Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (GPS). The final decision of whether or not to accept the student rests with Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

At every step of the application process, we do our best to keep the applicants informed of the status of their application. Although there is a communication tool built into the online application system, the preferred method of correspondence is by grad.eps [at] (e-mailing us). Students can also log in to the application system to keep track of their application status up to and including accepting the offer of admission. If at any point in the process you have any questions, please contact us.

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